It's too early in the High Speed 2 programme to conclude on the likelihood of its achieving value for money. Our concern at this point is the lack of clarity around the Department's objectives. **The strategic case for the network should be better developed at this stage of the programme. It is intended to demonstrate the need for the line but so far presents limited evidence on forecast passenger demand and expected capacity shortages on existing lines.
It is also unclear how High Speed 2 will transform regional economies by delivering jobs and growth. The Department is trying against a challenging timetable to strengthen its evidence and analysis, which at present provide a weak foundation for securing and demonstrating success in the programme in future.
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Dry day ahead but with quite a lot of cloud around
Twenty million pounds is to be pushed into projects that tackle loneliness as part of the legacy of the murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox.
One or two pockets of light rain on the way but a mainly dry night